What business are you in? June 23, 2015 RICCentre I’ve started three businesses and in each one I found out later what business I was actually in. When I started my pr agency in Toronto, I quickly discovered that I was not in the publicity business but rather one of obtaining free advertising for my clients. When I started Framestr I thought it was an e-commerce platform, but realized at its core its essence was digital marketing. Many people think McDonalds is only in the business of providing fast food. At their core McDonalds is one of the world’s largest holders of commercial real estate. To date, it remains at the forefront of their business. Sales is King So many new business owners forget what matters most. It isn’t your logo, your website or even your go to market strategy. Sales is the lifeline of any business. Sales brings income with which you can invest in different measures such as advertising. Sales is an indicator of a market demand for your product or service. Without sales, you are dead in the water. Partner up Each business I’ve launched has been beside a strategic partner. I quickly learned that creating a business from inception and running it day to day is one of the most psychologically difficult things you will go through. It is also one of the most rewarding. You will need someone to lean on when the going gets tough. Ideally you should look for someone whose skills differ greatly from your own. Skill overlap in a start up is a nightmare as you will need to source them somewhere else. Jordan Whelan, BCom ’08, is an entrepreneur who serves as president of Media Buying and Strategy Agency, Grey Smoke Media. His latest e-commerce venture, Framestr, a website similar to Etsy, allows users to get paid cash for sharing products among friends.